Police & Fire

Lakeland Grad Pulls Teenagers from Car That Crashed into Lake Mahopac

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First responders examine the Toyota Matrix after it flipped over and crashed into Lake Mahopac. Credits: Tabitha Pearson Marshall
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A rescue worker uses an inflatable raft to get a closer look. Credits: Tabitha Pearson Marshall
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Two teenage girls were trapped inside, but were able to be pulled through an open window.
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The car crashed through a utility pole, flew over a dock and landed upside-down in the lake.
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MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Two teenage girls from Mahopac were pulled from their car by a Good Samaritan after it crashed into Lake Mahopac Thursday evening and police and fire officials say he likely saved their lives.

Fire responders arrived at the scene at 385 North Lake Boulevard around 5:30 p.m. and found a 2009 Toyota Matrix floating upside-down in the water. The two girls had already been removed from the vehicle and brought to shore.

Carmel Police Lt. John Dearman said that 19-year-old Cullen Malzo, of Mahopac, was nearby when he heard the crash, went to the scene, and dialed 911. He then dove into the water and swam out to the car. Malzo is a Lakeland High School graduate and former president of the Yorktown Leos Club.

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“We got there pretty quickly but he had already pulled them out of the car,” Dearman said. “He pulled them out of an open window. We congratulated him for being a hero.”

Dearman said that where Malzo entered the lake there was several feet of muck.

“He was covered in mud from head to toe,” he said.

Mahopac Fire Chief Bill Bahr said the girls were traveling on North Lake Boulevard, crossed over the double-yellow line, crashed through a utility pole, went over a dock, then flipped over and landed in the lake.

“They were trapped,” Bahr said. “They were in a bad spot. He definitely saved their lives.”

Bahr said the two girls only received minor injuries and were transported to Westchester Medical Center for further evaluation. Police did not release their names.

Dearman said the Toyota was traveling at a high rate of speed, which was likely the cause of the accident. He said drugs or alcohol did not appear to be a factor. He said no citations were issued, but the investigation is ongoing.

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